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This podcast answers some of life's most challenging and awkward communication questions. We cover everything from diffusing a jerk to asking for a raise. We'll talk about how to start a conversation at a networking event, and what to do if your nose starts running in the middle of a presentation. You'll learn how to handle these situations with ease. These episodes are based on actual questions from my clients every day and come with practical tips you can start using immediately. I've kept these episodes short, so you get just what you need, when you need it, without having to listen through long, drawn-out interviews. Listen, whether you're talking at work, home, or just hanging out with your friends, there isn't an aspect of your life that isn't impacted by your communication, so why not be the absolute best you can be? 

Aug 4, 2022

Today we’re talking about whether you should use notes when you present.

The struggle is real. If you’ve presented, you’ve probably wondered how is it OK to use notes? Am I going to look like a dork if I use notes? Will people think I don’t know what I’m talking about if I use notes? Or have you ever tried to use notes only to find yourself lost in the jumble of your own incoherent writing? Maybe you’ve watched someone else use notes and thought they did a terrible job. I hear you, and I’ve had so many of the same thoughts.

Asking yourself about using notes is a good idea. And there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer; you're not a robot. Not all presentations are created equally, and context matters. So a better question to ask is, "Do I need to use notes?" I object to the word "should" as it's often associated with shame, and lord knows presenting can be stressful enough that we don't need to add shaming ourselves to the mix. Using notes
isn't good or bad; it's context-dependent, and it's up to you to determine whether or not to use them.

You may need to use notes because you're:
-new to the content you're delivering
-anxious and having notes makes you feel better
-covering a lot of material over a long period of time and memorization isn't possible

You may not need to use notes because:
-you've mastered the content and flow of the presentation
-you memorized for a specific purpose (e.g., a TEDx talk)
-you've practiced enough to deliver without them

I see folks who underestimate and overestimate their ability to speak without notes, and both types of speakers suffer for it.

So what's my final answer on notes?

It's better to be over-prepared than under-prepared.
Practice enough that you feel comfortable enough to make it through with little to no use of your notes but have them at the ready just in case you get off track.

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